The Mama Method with Lauren Weisman

Today I have an interview with The Mama Method founder Lauren Weisman, a maternity fitness expert based in Los Angeles. Her method blends relaxation, yoga, barre, ballet, pilates and cardio, to guide you through pregnancy and birth with strength and confidence.

The Mama Method

What is the Mama Method?

The Mama Method is my movement arsenal specifically designed for pregnancy and new motherhood. I started my business because I found that there was a real need for individualized pre and postnatal fitness programs. Especially during a first pregnancy or as a first time mom, there are so many questions that arise surrounding healthful movement modalities. I love that I get to guide my women toward feeling their best in this hugely transitional time.

What inspired you to focus on supporting pregnant women and postpartum mothers?

I have always been interested in birth, motherhood and helping women. As a young child I remember asking my mom to repeat my birth story frequently. As a teenager, I volunteered at a women’s’ center. I took a course in college called ‘Feminism and Fertility’. There were probably many other hints along the way that the dots might connect in this capacity. When I moved to Los Angeles six years ago, I trained as a doula with DONA’s Debbie Lavin. I knew guiding women through such a pivotal moment in their lives would be a part of my work. Combining this skill set with my history as a dancer, fitness and yoga teacher created the Mama Method.

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Mother Us Spotlights: Mutter Belly Oil

Mutter

There are debates about the efficacy of belly oils for preventing stretch marks, but it doesn’t hurt to hydrate and moisturize your skin during pregnancy. Mutter is a Berlin based maternity skincare company inspired by a conversation between Ralu and her mother.

Mutter OIls

Last year while we were on the beach, I asked: “Mom, how come you don’t have any stretch marks on your belly?” And she said: “Remember the little bottle of olive oil I always have in my bathroom cabinet? I used that. Pretty much every day. Nothing fancy, you see. Very simple, yet very effective. I’m still using it as my daily body moisturizer – it’s all natural and does the job.”

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Interview with Kristen Beddard :: The Kale Project

Today, we have an interview with Kristen Beddard. Kristen is an American writer living in Paris. I discovered her work nearly 3 years ago on Instagram and really enjoyed her vignettes of life in France. She is the founder of The Kale Project and mother to one-year-old Grady.

She currently has a new book coming out called Bonjour Kale: A Memoir of Paris, Love, and Recipes. Below we talk about how she navigated her fourth trimester with Grady, her experience with breastfeeding and resuming a work schedule.

Kristen Beddard

If I remember correctly, you welcomed your daughter last year. I know research and development of a book can take awhile, but how did you manage to write your book and have a baby all in what appears to be the span of a year or so?

To be honest, the deadline of the book was a year earlier than I would have liked but the publisher wanted to release it in spring (Paris in the springtime!) and because the kale trend isn’t getting any younger. I worked on the proposal off and on for around a year and then signed with my publisher in November 2014. My daughter Grady was born in March 2015. I worked on the first 30,000 words or so and the chapter outline until her birth, many of which were already well developed from working on the proposal. After the birth, I made sure to be as productive and efficient as possible while writing the last 60,000 words. It was not easy because my time alone to really focus was not as frequent as it was before she arrived and she’s never been the baby who just “sleeps” while I work.

Did you plan for and have postpartum support after the birth of your daughter? In the sense of cooked meals, someone who held the baby while you showered, etc.

Yes! My mom! I’m an only child and Grady is her first grandchild and she had retired a year earlier so the timing was perfect. She arrived two weeks before Grady was born (at 41 weeks and 4 days), was present for the birth and then stayed for a month afterwards. We rented an Air BnB not far from our apartment and she was absolutely wonderful and so helpful. She is a great cook – I talk a lot about her and the influence she’s had with me and food in the book – so I was very spoiled to have her cooking for me during the postpartum phase. I feel so fortunate that I was able to have her with me for emotional and physical support.

I think that women in modern day, western society, feel this pressure to try to do this all on our own when in reality, motherhood was not meant to be done without help. For centuries, women had their mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters and communities all helping each other out with knowledge that had been passed down through generations, a spare hand (or even breast!) and more. I tell any of my expecting friends to hire a doula for anything they might need if they will not have help from a family member. It will make such a difference in the first few weeks.

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Natural Health after Birth: The Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness by Aviva Jill Romm

With so much focus on the pregnancy and birth, many new parents are taken by surprise with the demands of newborn care and the mother’s need for rest after childbirth.

One of my favorite books for planning for postpartum care is Natural Health after Birth, The Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness by Aviva Jill Romm. I discovered this book after the birth of my first baby and I remember thinking, I wish I would have known about this book during my pregnancy, it would have given me so much more perspective on planning for after the birth. I especially appreciated the recipes for teas and nourishing foods.

The Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness

This book reads as if you are speaking with your no-nonsense friend, who did all the research already and has a balanced view of western and eastern medicine and care. In chapter two, which is titled: New-Mother Care around the World, we receive an overview of postpartum traditions from different cultures.

Throughout the book each chapter stands alone, the first half of the book gives more of an in-depth summary of becoming a mother and planning for postpartum, while the second half of the book guides you through common ailments experienced by mama and baby during the fourth trimester.

There are sections we can turn to for answers about returning to work, breastfeeding, bonding with a new baby and intimacy. Aviva also focuses on the father or partner’s role in postpartum care, how to create a support circle and asking for professional help when necessary.

The author is a mother, doctor, midwife and herbalist, trained in internal medicine at Yale, who specializes in integrative medicine for women and children. I highly recommend this book to pregnant and new mothers, as well as family members who will be caring for you postpartum.

Interview with Erica Jago :: Co-Author of Art of Attention, Yoga Teacher and Artist

Erica Jago

One of the things I read early in my parenting journey, which really stuck with me, is our children mirror our behavior. After listening to Erica being interviewed on a podcast, where she spoke of becoming the best version of herself, in order to be the best guide for her students, I decided to reach out to her for this interview.

Erica Jago is an artist, designer and yoga teacher, in addition to being someone I’ve admired from afar since I discovered Art of Attention, a book she designed and co-authored. Although the book was written as a gift to yoga teachers, the lessons inside are universal for anyone wanting to challenge and improve him or herself.

You designed and co-wrote a beautiful book, the Art of Attention, which has inspired me so much in my doula practice; what could a pregnant mother or new parent learn from your book?

I’m so happy to hear this! Not having children myself, I can only relate to the idea of parenting. But as an adult, I find myself still learning how to nurture and care for my own inner child. The book, Art of Attention teaches ways to speak to your emotional body; feeling forgiveness as a release of tension in the body. In chapter two, we release blame in the solar plexus, which is a huge power loss. All of these universal lessons will assist you in becoming a clearer channel for yourself first, and others around you, second.

Why do you think it’s important to be your best self in order to teach others?

Conflict comes from when I’m living a contradiction. What I teach in the classroom must be a true reflection of what I live at home, otherwise I’m a fraud. Integrity is the utmost important attribute a human can obtain and a topic I cover a lot in my classes and retreats.

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Interview with Sarah Smith :: Call The Midwife

Sarah Smith is an English midwife, doula and mother of one. Recently she worked supporting women through births in Los Angeles, where I was fortunate enough to make her acquaintance.

Now back home in England, Sarah is focused on enjoying her toddler son and choosing happiness. I’m delighted to be able to share this interview and hear her point of view on motherhood and asking for support.

 

SarahSmithMidwifeInterview

What brought you to your work as a midwife?

I always find it hard to answer this question because it wasn’t a defining moment or anything in particular. All I can say is becoming and being a midwife has always been something that has felt very instinctual to me. I knew I wanted to be a midwife since I was about 14, and since then have never questioned it or looked back.

Did your approach to midwifery change after becoming a mother?

As I became a midwife at quite a young age, and therefore before I had my son, I always felt that maybe some people wouldn’t take me seriously being young, as well as not having children of my own yet.

Since having my son,  I suddenly felt like I’d earned my stripes, almost like a bit of an initiation and my confidence as a midwife grew enormously. I feel my connection to women now is stronger because of having been through the experience myself, and I feel my empathy is now much greater.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe you need to have children in order to be a good midwife, there are plenty of midwives without children who are fantastic midwives. But for me personally, I know this helped me on many different levels.

What do you wish every mother could experience or know before her own birth?

I wish for every woman to feel a sense of empowerment, in whatever way that might look for her. I would love every woman to know she has a choice and a voice in her care.

Did you have postpartum support after the birth of your son?

I had limited postpartum support, due to various different things, but I wish I had had more support and helping hands around me. I learned the hard way about doing too much too soon!

It’s all about sleep when you’re a new parent, any tips to share?

Everyone says it, but it’s so true, rest when you can, and don’t worry about the little things. Build a network of support around you, so that they can take care of you, so that you can take care of your baby.

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Baby Friendly Social Activities for New Parents

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When you have a new baby, sometimes days can go by without ever leaving the house, especially if it’s your first child. With Internet and social media taking the place of real life engagements, finding the motivation to pull yourself together, get the baby ready and drive across town or even down the block to the store can be daunting.

Getting out of the house and meeting other parents can alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation that often accompany new parenthood. When you find the right group, or even just one other person who is on the same wavelength, you will realize you are not alone!

You Will Feel Grateful.

Grateful to talk with others and realize that your baby isn’t the only one waking up at night, although there’s always one baby who is sleeping blissfully for long stretches!

You Will Get Answers.

Answers to questions you hadn’t even thought of, like how to find a nanny share, which type of baby carrier to get, or simply learning about a new teething remedy.

You Will Find Comfort.

Comfort from hearing the stories of others and realizing everyone is having similar experiences with their babies and trying to navigate from moment to moment like you are.

You Will Hear Other Parenting Styles.

You will meet parents with styles similar to yours or even opposite, and you might gain insight and confidence in hearing what works for some and not others.

Around your last post natal checkup is a good time to start looking for parent groups. There are many types, but the most popular are Mommy and Me; walks in the park, postnatal mommy and me yoga classes and breastfeeding support groups. If you’re a parent of multiplies, preemies or have any other special circumstances, there are often specific groups available.

To find these groups you can search online for MeetUps in your area, or on Facebook. You can also check out story time events at your local library, and see if your city offers infant classes. Additionally, there is a class called “Music Together” which can be started in early childhood: www.musictogether.com.

You can also contact your local Le Leche League leader, yoga studio, your childbirth educator, or reach out to a doula in your area.

 

The Fourth Trimester and Postpartum Care

The fourth trimester is the baby’s transition to being outside of the womb during the 12 weeks immediately following birth.

One-reason parents often find themselves hustling to find a postpartum doula after the baby has been born is they’re having challenges coping with the changes brought by the fourth trimester.

A healthy infant’s goal is survival and it’s a 24-hour job meeting these needs, which are especially challenging when it’s the middle of the night, you’re exhausted and your baby is communicating in one of the only ways they know how: crying.

fourth trimester

 

Common challenges include, but are not limited to:

1. Newborns often have their days and nights mixed up, so you might see them fall into a pattern of resting more during the day and waking more to feed at night.

2. Intermittent growth spurts during the first 12 weeks of life, they usually last 2-3 days and baby can appear fussy, hard to settle and feed more often.

3. Baby will only sleep while being held and wakes as soon as you put them down in their bassinet or crib.

4. Doing everything to comfort your baby, checking the diaper, feeding, cuddling, and making sure their clothing is comfortable, the room temperature is appropriate, and they still will not settle into sleep easily.

5. Parental sleep deprivation: getting less uninterrupted sleep per night than what is recommended for your body to function optimally.

By having a postpartum doula, parents receive assistance with understanding their baby’s cues accurately. They gain the tools necessary to meet their baby’s needs with confidence, which helps the entire family to be happier and better rested.

Reference: The Fourth Trimester: Understanding, Protecting, and Nurturing an Infant through the First Three Months by Susan Brink

 

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